The Palestinian government announced Monday it is planning an ambitious restoration project for the ancient church that marks the traditional birthplace of Jesus, an important Christian site that draws millions of visitors.

The renovation of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity is expected to take several years and millions of dollars, according to Ziad Bandak, an official overseeing the restoration.

Bandak said this is the first comprehensive restoration project on the church since it was completed in the fourth century. He said the roof, pillars and mosaics in the church all need work.

“Rain leaking in has caused great damage to all of those, which led us to move quickly to repair the damage,” Bandak said, adding that the project would also aim to fix general wear and tear on the centuries-old church.

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